Consumers Union uses classical methods and practices to gather and analyze
reliability data, and indeed many other organizations do the same, most
notably the U.S. government whose military standards and MTBF/MTTR methods
shaped a large portion of this country's engineering development approach.
Detroit and other manufacturing centers for appliances and electronics have
done so for many. decades as well. Indeed CU uses traditional and well
accepted methods. Fundamentally they gather, record, and statistically
analyze a wide range of detailed failure modes for automobiles in particular
but also for other products, deriving failure probabilities which they then
portray in a simplified format for the average consumer to digest. They
typically use a 5 point scale with such headings as (Much Better than
Average, Better than Average, Average, Worse than Average, Much Worse than
Average), a bar chart, or some other graphically compact notation. Most
notable is their very large and statistically meaningful sample sizes, and
their surveying methods which have been refined over (at least) the 38 years
I have been a subscriber and survey participant.
If your point is that JD Powers is another legitimate database for some
consumer data related to reliability, I agree, but I strongly contend that
their scope and their sample sizes are smaller, vastly smaller in the case
of automobiles for example, despite their concentration in such products,
and vastly smaller in many areas where CU traditionally does its research
and they do not.
It is also no small coincidence that CU aggressively prevents advertising
and other patently obvious exploitation of their published results by
manufacturers to lure buyers. You will NEVER see a car or other product ad
which claims: "Selected as the best/most reliable/etc. by Consumers Report"
since CU has made it entirely clear that they will litigate and prevail if
such attempts are made.
JD Powers, on the other hand, is about as much "in bed" with Detroit and
other sources as one could imagine. They actively encourage their
endorsements to be used as selling tools. It doesn't take a genius to figure
out how this influence peddling cycle works.....
I have Trend Micro for years but the reviews haven't been so good
lately. I also heard that Kaspersky is excellent. I downloaded their
trial version but had a terrible time configuring it. They just came out
with there new version and I tried to download the trial version of
that. I kept getting errors and finally said f- it. Their cusomer
service is paultry. I heard Bit-Defender is good but haven't looked into
While I still search for one, I'm using Avira's Antivir free.
I am also using Online Armour as a firewall which is free and very
hope that helps,
I received a 1 year subscription to Consumers Reports as a wedding gift in
the late 1960s when I got married. Ever since then, I have renewed the
subscription, and used their reviews to assist me in making shopping
decisions. I have purchased many major items over nearly 40 years with their
input, and in many if not most cases, found their comparisons and data to be
accurate and generally valid. In cases where I have been disappointed, I can
often find a good reason which really explains why their choice and my
experience differ, typically my false assumption that they will compare
products using much the same discriminants which I would.
When I retrospectively look back upon items I have purchased for which they
collect and report reliability, my experiences are very much correlated with
their data. Obvious examples would be extreme satisfaction with my current
car's repair history, which matches their data to an uncanny extent, as well
as dissatisfaction with the repair history of a few home appliances which
they now report in the lower ranking repair data.
My only other connection was a single opportunity to perform certain testing
which fell under a non-disclosure agreement whose duration I cannot
accurately recall as a hired consulting engineering company employee in the
early 1990s. They impressed me tremendously with their very thorough, very
well informed, and very meticulous approach to the specific testing which
required lab facilities which they lacked and my employer possessed.
You asked a full disclosure and this is about all I can offer. There are,
and have been, specialized test facilities and labs whose opinions and
evaluations I would value as superior to CU. For many years as an avid
(rabid?) audiophile, I would not especially trust my selection of audio gear
to CU when better evaluations were being offered in the audiophile magazines
and from some distinguished engineers whose opinions I valued. To this day,
I would put more stock and value in reading lens evaluations and camera
evaluations from others on the Internet and elsewhere rather than depend on
CU. I do sincerely believe, however, that they act with integrity, very good
technical judgment, impartiality, and mostly correct metrics.
Incidentally, I have been briefly involved with the CPSC, the Consumer
Product Safety Commission, in a consulting role. I won't elaborate except to
say that they are an extremely poor excuse for a testing organization.
Thanks David. It's clear to me that John needed a way to exit this dialog
while still saving face. Since the argument he raised was no longer
defendable, and he (thankfully) chose not to get into a name-calling escape
like Salty Dog, he chose the next obvious tactic, to attempt some "guilt by
It entirely backfired, since the point he made is, as you state, idiotic and
Thanks for your support David. I have absolutely no hidden agenda here
except that I wanted to offer the original poster a source of very recent
(September 08) reviews of antivirus software, and I find Consumer Reports
and Consumers Union to be great resources, and originally recommended them
for that reason. Why somebody else needs to attack my suggestion in the
first place can only be explained by the myriad of weird people who show up
on the Internet with a need to criticize.
1) Why did you feel compelled to change my spelling in what you quoted?
When I wrote "idjit", I meant it.
2) You oughta learn how (or set up your mail/news program (Microsoft
Windows Mail 6.0 from the looks of things) to trim signatures from your
replies (the two hyphens in a row are the standard delimiter, and it
seems every other mail/news client in the world *except* Microsoft's
adhere to this time-honored tradition).
"Wikipedia ... it reminds me ... of dogs barking idiotically through
endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.
My apologies for correcting the apparent mis-spelled word. I spell check
withot regard to who made the (apparent) error so it was not obvious where
it originated as I clicked through the spell checker.
Indeed my Windows Mail program does not offer any option to trim signatures
automatically, and my custom is to not particularly trim the thread exchange
heavily if at all. I agree that it is more easily read, transmitted, and
stored in an edited form. Mea culpa... ;-)
So, in absense of a good and valid source for this information from
somewhere else, you choose to rely on an extremely faulty one,
containing erroneous conclusions, based on faulty methodology, just
because it's the only one you can find? Brilliant!
I entirely andf totally disagree with your premise that their reliability
data is inherently "extremely faulty" since it is merely a statistical
compilation of 100s of thousands of readers experience. How would a
"brilliant" person gather and report on reliability data differently, if I
You have a true blind spot, and no basis to make such an unsupportable
claim. Your "scientific approach" is clearly the one lacking any basis, not
Now I know my point has been made properly. You no longer have an
intelligent or logical argument so yo decide to attack my name.
As a grandparent, I know very well how children behave when they have
nothing meaningful to say to defend themselves. Since you are apparently
also a retired person based on your earlier comment, what is your logical
argument? Or are we stuck at childish name-calling?
Well, I'm delighted we have returned from the little name-calling hissy-fit.
How about just itemizing one or two points where I am wrong so we can
intelligently discuss / debate them?
man, learn to trim! :^/
By 'self selected':
1. They only survey subscribers, who are by definition not regular
consumers, but rather people who consider themselves smart shoppers.
2. What reply rate do they get on their surveys? I'd be real surprised
if it is over 20-30 percent. Again, self selected.
3. I'm no expert, but I have written or evaluated a few customer surveys
over the years. I found 2 clusters of typical replies- people who are
pissed, and people who are still trying to justify their purchase (to
themselves, spouse, whatever. I dunno.) People who bought something to
do a job, and find that it works, are seldom motivated to report on
their experience, IMHO. What do you do with the pop-up surveys on vendor
web sites? You made your purchase already, or sent in your trouble
ticket, or whatever. What is the motivation to fill out the survey,
unless you still want to vent?
In this age of disposable products and essentially meaningless
warranties, I don't think there ARE any valid indicators of quality and
reliability for consumer goods, other than the shadow indicator of
overall/ongoing sales figures and repeat business. It isn't like
industrial or commercial equipment, where every service call and
warranty claim are logged by vendor and customer, and problem brands and
vendors do not get the repeat business. When I buy 20-30 K worth of
hardware from a vendor, he REALLY wants me to be happy, so I'll come
back. Something doesn't work, I get a swapout shipped overnight, or they
send a tech out. When I buy a 20 dollar item at Wally World, neither the
manufacturer or reseller really care- they already have my money. Any
further contact with me is just an expense to them.
How do I judge quality of consumer items? School of hard knocks, mainly.
I look real hard at the demo unit in the store, run my hands over it,
see if it feels like flimsy junk, look at the fit, finish, machining and
plating quality, so on and so forth. Once you have been buying things a
few years, junk usually announces itself pretty well, as does quality.
(Best example is hand tools- if it feels wrong in your hand, it is
probably crap.) If I an buying remotely, like on line, I'll go by what
brands have served me well in the past, as well as the informed opinions
(however anecdotal) of people I know and trust who have purchased from
that manufacturer before.
aem sends, rant depleted....
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